For those who’ve been downloading movies over BitTorrent, the name PassThePopcorn (PTP) should sound familiar. PTP which started out as a rather unknown tracker called SceneMovies quickly established itself as one of the largest specialized movie torrent sites on the net. Built on the much famed Gazelle RC2 codebase, PTP’s rich torrent index coupled with it’s organization features lured movie lovers from all over the world, increasing its popularity within a short period of time. However, PTP’s rise to fame was not without obstacles – there’s been more drama and controversy surrounding this site than perhaps any other private tracker in existence. PTP had so far managed to survive ownership changes, domain switchovers, internal disputes and even controversies surrounding staff involvement in child pornography links. PTP’s good luck however seemed to be ending when it’s owners announced imminent closure of the site earlier today. Shortly after this announcement, PTP seems to have undergone yet another management change and it looks like the tracker will, after all, not close down as planned.
Latest round of PassThePopcorn’s troubles started about a week ago, when their Paypal account was frozen along with the collected donations money. Quoted below (with edits) is forum post by one of the administrators explaining the situation:
Earlier this morning, our paypal account was frozen - it was suspected that our site was the front for some sort of child exploitation service. We have had to set up a different method of donating, since our current funds are inaccessible.
It's not exactly clear who has reported us for such behavior, as it's totally "out there", but we are just going to have to move on and hope that stays behind us. We have to change the way we do donations from now on, at least for some time until we can resolve our quarrel with paypal.
Here is what seems to be known so far. All of the funds on the account have been frozen. Dexter, former SysOp of PTP until a few days ago, was the one who handled this sort of thing and accessed the account directly. For whatever reason he is unreachable at the moment (we don't suspect him of anything) so Z tried to set up a new account to help get us through the emergency. As a new account that one was also frozen until Z provides his SSN and some form of ID which he is weary of doing. We don't know why the first account was frozen and we don't know who did it. We do know we're doing everything in our power to try and fix this and want to stick around.
check this post for most recent news from z
Apparently the staff didn’t have much success trying to resolve the situation -A notice was posted on homepage earlier today, announcing the imminent shut down of PTP:
Dear PTP Users,
It's sad that it's come to this, but after a long discussion and several days of issues with donations and such, we have decided to close our beloved site forever. We are incredibly saddened that circumstances have come to this, and we cannot begin to say how sorry we are about this. This site has become part of our lives. We've gained friends, some knowledge, and of course a good movie or two. There's no good way to write a goodbye news post, and there's definitely not any part of this we enjoy.
We've been through a lot, as a community, and as staff. We've had our ups, our downs, and we've overcame them all. This, sadly, is something we cannot overcome. We simply cannot afford to push on anymore, and we regret to inform you of this decision that has not come lightly.
We love our community, and we cannot begin to express the thanks we have for all of you in your hard work, support of each other and the site itself, and the countless hours most of you have spent on the site making it the great site it has become.
As one last token of our appreciation, we will be enabling site-wide freeleech and keep the site up until the end of our servers billing cycle. This will be essentially until the end of this month. This may seem small in the grand scheme of things, but it's all we can do at this time. We hope you all understand the sadness that comes with this decision, and know it was something we have not taken lightly. Our userbase is incredible, and we hope you find a home after we're gone.
As said, we are so grateful for all of you, and we hope you can see this from our perspective.
In closing, to our userbase, I personally thank you for everything, and hope you take what you've learned here and utilize it wherever life takes you.
We, the owners, have decided this has proven too much for us personally, and have made this decision with our staff. This decision is final.
This notice however was only up for several hours until it was preceded by a new announcement. It spoke of yet another management change and as it stands right now, the site will not shut down as planned earlier.
PTP: Now under new management!
Z and Dexter were generous enough to transfer the ownership of the site. Please do not speculate on my identity, I will not confirm or deny anything. I do not want it to become a well-known fact.
With that said, the site-wide freeleech will continue for 48 hours as payment of the staff's appreciation for you sticking with us throughout the site's tumultuous times.
Please do us a favor, and do not hit-and-run the FL torrents. Staff will be checking for this, and unfortunately disciplining those as necessary.
More details to come!
This should indeed be good news for PTP’s 19000 strong user base and of course, for movie tracker community in general. Despite internal disputes and controversies, PassThePopcorn remains to be one of the largest movie trackers online with over 31000 active torrents pointing to 18500 movies by 11500+ directors.